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— — JP—-—7II 


l. il Mr 

Dak To's Sky Soldiers 

"On Hill 875, in the jungled 
mountains of South Vietnam, 
American paratroopers have writ- 
ten another chapter in their illus- 
trious history. 

Fighting in savage^ close-quarter 
combat for the heights dominating 
the Dak To military complex, they 
have shown once again that their 
driving professionalism makes 
them second to none among mili- 
tary forces of the world. 

American paratroopers made 
their combat debut in World War 1 1 
in grim engagements in Sicily, 
Normandy, Holland and the Pacific 
Theater. They fought again in 
Korea and have now distinguished 
themselves in Vietnam. 

They bear with pride their ability 
to leap into battle from the skies, 

a quality that accentuates their 
superb capabilities as infantrymen 
and armored troopers on the 

In South Vietnam are units of 
the 101st Airborne Division and the 
173d Airborne Brigade. It is to the 
latter, one of the first American 
combat units committed in Viet- 
nam, that the task of retaining 
mastery of the Dak To area has 
fallen. The 173d, a rugged outfit 
indeed, has suffered grievously in 
carrying out this mission, and it 
deserves the nation's gratitude. 

The proud paratroopers, elite of 
the United States Army, comprise 
the finest of our youth. Their sacri- 
fice epitomizes the burning em- 
phasis of the American commit- 
ment in South Vietnam/' 


When the 173d Airborne Brigade arrived in Vietnam in 
May of 1965, they brought with them the inherited tradition 
of the 503d Parachute Infantry that jumped into combat on 
Corregidor in 1944. During the first three years in Vietnam, the 
Brigade has written a history of world-wide fame and played a 
major role in the South Vietnamese struggle for freedom from 
Communist aggression. 

The Brigade, organized in June of 1963 from the 2nd Airborne 
Battle Group, 503d Infantry, underwent extensive airborne, 
guerrilla, and jungle warfare training on its home island, 
Okinawa, and throughout the Asian Theatre prior to coming to 
Vietnam. Since that time, the Sky Soldiers have established an 
unparalleled jjgjni of firsts in the Vietnam Conflict. Being the 

first > Army ground combat unit to arrive in Vietnam the 173d 
spearheaded operations in the Iron Triangle, War Zones C and D 
the Delta, and the Highlands. The Brigade was also first to conduct 
a joint American- Vietnamese operation. 

One mission never to be forgotten was the first combat parachute 
assault since the Korean Conflict to spearhead Operation 

Profiting by their experience in the III Corps area with the 
Viet Cong, the combat seasoned Brigade moved to the Central 
Highlands to answer the threat of a Communist buildup. Again 
the 173d distinguished itself in close-quarter fighting against 
the North Vietnamese Regulars who are better organized, trained, 
and equipped than their southern counterparts. 

The 173d Brigade won't take time to stand on its laurels. 
Sky Soldiers will continue to drive on as they did in VIETNAM 

mtm '-: 

This Book Is Dedicated 

To The Trooper 

Who Has Fought 

Who Has Fallen 

Who Continues To Fight 





173d Airborne Brigade 
A Pictorial History 

Published By 

The Brigade Information Office 

Major Robert R. Brewer, Information Officer 

Specialist 5 Roger E. Hester, Editor 

Paratroopers : 

My last months with the 173d Airborne 
Brigade were climaxed by your rapid 
response to General Westmoreland's di- 
rective to move to the Central Highlands 
and eliminate the growing threat in that 
area. In the area around Dak To from 
Kontum City to Dak Pek, you engaged 
and defeated four NVA Regiments 
thus destroying the enemy plan for a 
major monsoon offensive. As I departed 
in August 1967, General Westmoreland 
praised your performance. He told me that 
your rapid movement to meet each threat, 
your aggressive attacks on a well-trained 
enemy, your professional approach to 
combat, and your Airborne spirit had saved 
the Highlands. 

I now read in the • press and official 
reports of your continued success. My 
pride in being able to .say "I was a Sky 
Soldier" is tremendous. 

Good luck, good hunting, and God 
bless you. 


Major General John R. Deane, Jr. 

Brigadier General John R. Deane Jr., former commander of the 173d Airborne Brigade 
(Separate), has been reassigned to the office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Force Develop- 
ment in Washington, D.C. 

General Deane enlisted in the Army on 1 July 1937, and subsequently won an appointment 
to the United States Military Academy. He graduated as a second lieutenant of infantry in 
1942. During World War II, General Deane served with the 104th Infantry Division, rising 
in rank from second lieutenant to lieutenant colonel. 

General Deane arrived in Vietnam February 5, 1966, and assumed duties as Deputy 
Commanding General and Chief of Staff I Field Force. In July of that year, General Deane 
was assigned as Assistant Division Commander, 1st Infantry Division. During Operation 
ATTLEBORO, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, this nation's second 
highest medal for gallantry. 

On December 28, 1966, General Deane assumed command of the 173d Airborne Brigade. 
Since that time, he has led the Sky Soldiers on combat operations in the Iron Triangle, War 
Zones C and D, and the Central Highlands. General Deane jumped into combat, leading 
the first American parachute assault in Vietnam during Operation JUNCTION CITY near 
the Cambodian border. 

Since commanding the 173d Airborne Brigade, General Deane has been promoted to 
Major General. 

Sky Soldiers : 

Once again the 173d Airborne Brigade 
finds itself in the forefront of the struggle 
for freedom. This year as in the past, the 
173d has proven itself as a fighting force. 
It is also fitting that during the past three 
years the Brigade has fought shoulder to 
shoulder with the Free World Forces on 
behalf of the people of the Republic of 

As in each war and in each battle, the 
true story of the Brigade lies with the indivi- 
dual soldier — his heroism and his indo- 
mitable spirit. He is the man who undergoes 
innumerable hardships and suffering to 
lessen the trials of others. 

It is the purpose of this book to show, by 
pictures and words, the life and accom- 
plishments of the officers and men of the 
finest airborne unit of the United States 
Army. It is my hope that this account of the 
173d's magnificent contribution towards 
the victory that will come will be meaningful 
and significant for each soldier of the 

Brigadier General Leo H. Schweiter 

Brigadier General L.H. Schweiter came 
to the 173d Airborne Brigade with a 
great- deal of combat experience. General 
Schweiter served with the 101st Airborne 
Division in World War II, and X Corps 
and the 7th Infantry Division in Korea. 

During World War II, General Schweiter 
made combat jumps behind enemy lines 
into Normandy and Holland. In the 
European Theatre of Operations, he served 
with the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment 
and the lOlst's Intelligence (G-2) section. 

In Korea, General Schweiter participated 
in the amphibious landings at the Inchon 
and Wonson, and the subsequent with- 
drawal from the Hamhung-Hungnam peri- 
meter in North Korea. He later com- 
manded the 32nd Infantry Regiment of 
the 7th Division in combat. 

General Schweiter commanded the Pro- 
visional Reconnaissance Troop Sky Cavalry 
the first air cavalry unit in the U.S. Army. 
He also commanded the 2nd Airborne 
Battle Group, 504th Infantry, 82nd Air- 
borne Division. In 1961, General Schweiter 
became the first commander of the Fifth 
Special Forces Group (Airborne). 

He came to the 173d from an assign- 
ment as Assistant Division Commander 
of the 101st Airborne Division af Fort 
Campbell, Kentucky. While in command, 
the Sky Soldiers fought and won the Battle 
of Dak To and carried out many other 
missions throughout the Central High- 

His decorations include the Silver Star 
with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Combat Infantry- 
man's Badge with Star, the Bronze 
Star with Three Oak Leaf Clusters, the 
Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying 
Cross for Heroism, the Air Medal (6th 
Oak Leaf Cluster) with "V" devices for 
heroism, the Purple Heart with one Oakleaf 
Cluster, and the Master Parachutist Badge. 

Men of the 

173d Airborne Brigade 

The 173d Airborne Brigade 
is one of the finest fighting units ever 
fielded by the Army. As the first U.S. 
Army ground combat unit committed in 
Vietnam, the Brigade has distinguished 
itself in combat and has played a decisive 
role in preventing the enemy from accom- 
plishing his mission. 

I am extremely proud to command this 
unit and am confident that it will continue 
to defeat and demoralize the enemy. 

This book is yours-dedicated to you — the 
fighting soldier — and to those who have 
fought bravely and lost their lives. It is a 
pictorial history of the Third Year of the 
Sky Soldiers in Vietnam. 

Brigadier General Richard J. Allen 

Brigadier General Richard J. Allen assumed command of the 173d Airborne Brigade on 
March 20, 1968 after serving as assistant division commander of the 101st Airborne Division. 

Enlisting in the Army in 1940, General Allen served in the grades of private, corporal, 
sergeant, and first sergeant until February, 1942, when he attended Infantry OCS at Fort 
Benning, Ga. He graduated as a second lieutenant. 

During World War II, he participated in all of the campaigns of the 101st Airborne 
Division including the invasion of Normandy, the invasion of Holland, and the Battle of 

A graduate of the Georgia Military Academy and the University of Maryland, General 
Allen has completed the following military schools: Infantry OCS, Parachute School, 
Armor Advanced Course, Command and General Staff College, Armed Forces Staff College, 
and Air War College. 

His decorations include the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, the Combat 
Infantryman Badge, the Distinguished Unit Citation (One Oak Leaf Cluster), the Army 
Commendation Medal, the Croix de Guerre with Bronze Star (France), the Croix de Guerre 
(Unit Fourregere-Belgium), the Netherlands Fourregere (Unit), and the Master Parachutist 




*. \ 


/ Organization 
II Combat Operations 
III The Fight For Dak To 

,, IV The War 

V Civic Actions 

VI The Enemy 

VII The Sky Soldier 








173d Airborne Brigade 


MI: Military Intelligence Detachment 
PSD: Infantry Platoon Scout Dog 
MHD: Military History Detachment 
APU: Army Postal Unit 
JJSAF: U.S. Air Force Control Party 
PI: Public Information Detachment 
CTT: Combat Tracker Team 
REPL: Replacement Detachment 







The Infantry 

An army's might can be measured by the 
strength of its infantry. The infantry is the 
oldest branch of the army, dating back to 
colonial times. The methods of war have 
changed considerably since then, but no 
matter how sophisticated methods of wea- 
pons and war become, we still depend on 
the infantry to deliver the final blow to the 

Fighting an unconventional war in 
Vietnam, against an enemy more apt to elude 
than take a stand, the infantry has had to 
adapt itself to meet the challenge of the 
guerrilla fighter. Now the enemy is begin- 
ning to realize that the U.S. Army infantry- 
man is a versatile fighting man. He has 
consistently met the enemy on his own 
terms and beat him at his own game. 

The airborne infantry soldier is a proud 
wearer of two highly held badges — his 
parachutists badge and the combat in- 
fantryman's badge. 

He has fought in many battles against the 
aggressive enemy. One of the fieriest battles 
yet fought in the Vietnam war was during 
the Battle of Dak To when the airborne 
infantryman overwhelmed an enemy who 
continued to fight even after airpower 
scorched a hill with their lethal load. 

The 173d has four infantry battalions: 
the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th of the 503d 
Infantry which have distinguished them- 
selves during many critical testing periods. 

Yet, it still remains that the infantry 
soldier, the. infantry unit, and the infantry 
spirit is necessary to search out and destroy 
the enemy. How well he fights is recorded 
in the annals of history. 

2nd Battalion receives Presidential Unit Citation 

3d Battalion arrives in Vietnam 


mt. ■ 


The Artillerymen 

From the time a soldier first arrives in 
country until he leaves, the deafening sound 
of artillery pounds at his ears. The thunder 
of the big guns may unnerve the new 
arrival at first, but he soon realizes that the 
guns bellowing in the distance are his best 

Providing the heavy fire support for the 
Brigade is the 3d Battalion, 319th Artil- 
lery, composed of four firing batteries and 
a headquarters and a service battery. Each 
firing battery delivers fire support to one 
of the infantry battalions — and if the need 
arises, firing is quickly and capably switched 
to support additional units within range of 
the weapons system employed. 

The battalion has twenty-two 105mm 
howitzers which fire at ranges up to 11 ,000 
meters. The mission is to deliver swift, 
accurate, and continuous fire support to 
the maneuver elements. This mission has 
been effective in every manner. 


l ^:,^^*$&&. 






< «nar 

Tfie Cavalry 

The cavalry of today's Army no longer 
depends upon horses. Instead, the cavalry 
uses the most recent developments in ground 
and air transportation to get them to their 

Once to their destination, the cavalry 
has many important functions. When at- 
tached to another Brigade unit, the Cav 
serves as a security force, a blocking force, 
or as a reconnaissance and surveillance 
force. When operating separately, the 
troop runs road clearing operations, 
escorts convoys, and conducts mount- 
ed and dismounted reconnaissance missions. 
Occasionally, the unit even deploys as a 
separate infantry force. 

Troop E, 17th Cavalry, is unique because 
it is the only separate airborne cavalry 
troop and part of the only separate air- 
borne brigade in the United States Army. 


Major General William R. Peers, com.' 
manding general 1st Field Force and 
Sergeant Major Vincent D. Roegiers, 173d 
Airborne Brigade Sergeant Major, presents 
Troop E, 17th Cavalry the Valorous Unit 
Award for extraordinary heroism during 
Operation CEDAR FALLS in January 

, ' 


The Armormen 

Company D of the 16th Armor (D/16th) 
has added an important dimension to the 
war effort in Vietnam. Combining mobility 
and firepower, armored personnel carriers 
(APCs) can move in almost any type 
terrain to close with and destroy the enemy. 
They can sweep an area twice as fast as 
foot soldiers, and heavy jungle brush is no 
problem— an APC can knock down trees 
up to ten inches in diameter. 

The APC is an excellent mode of trans- 
portation for personnel under fire. The 
two-inch thick aluminum armor will stop 
rifle bullets and shell fragments. 

D Company's weaponry makes it a 
formidable force to tangle with. Each APC 
is a armed with a .50-caliber machine gun, 
two m-60 machine guns, and a rocket 
launcher. In addition, many of the Brigade's 
seventeen APCs are armed with 90mm 
recoilless rifles. 


The 173d Engineer Company is a unique 
unit in that it builds, destroys, and fights. 

Their job is to increase the combat 
effectiveness of the Brigade by performing 
tasks of construction and destruction. The 
results of these activities improve the mobi- 
lity of friendly forces and impede the 
mobility of the enemy. 

The engineers have to be versatile. One 
day they may build a road through dense 
jungle and the next they may have to 
destroy a network of enemy tunnels. Very 

often the engineers are under fire by the 

Engineers also sweep roads for mines, 
survey, explore, and clean areas for fire 
support bases and landing zones, provide 
water points, and are constantly supporting 
the Brigade Command Post with heavily 
fortified bunkers from which tactical opera- 
tions are monitored and controlled. 

Engineers are frequently attached to an 
infantry battalion during an operation. The 
airborne engineer moves as an infantryman 
— fighting and destroying. 

No job is too big or too small for the 
173d Engineer Company. 



Achievement in combat support opera- 
tions has earned for the 173d Engineer 
Company, 173d Airborne Brigade, the 
highest award for an Army engineer unit. 

The Society of American Military Engi- 
neers' Itschner Plaque was awarded to the 
173d Engineers for the year of 1967 from 
a field of approximately 400 similar units 
stationed throughout the world. 

Named "the most outstanding unit of 
the year," the airborne engineers received 
the honor for their "extraordinary profes- 
sional competence and technical profi- 
ciency," as stated in the citation award, 
which made special note of the role the 
engineers played in the battle for Hill 875 
in November 1967 at Dak To. 

During the battle, the engineers were 
deployed with the infantry companies to 
destroy the bunker complexes of the enemy 
forward defensive perimeter. The engineers 
assaulted with flame-throwers and satchel 
charges providing the infantry with that 
hole in the line they needed to secure and 

BEST IN 1967 

clear Hill 875. 

The Gitation took note of the way the 
engineer paratroopers efficiently adapted to 
the ever-changing needs of the 173d in 15 
different major combat operations from the 
jungled Iron Triangle to the Central High- 

Constructing forward support bases in 
100-foot triple-canopied jungles, rappelling 
with the initial elements of the infantry in 
assaults, clearing landing zones, roads, and 
enemy fortifications were among the tasks 
and achievements noted by Brigadier 
General Leo H. Schweiter, former 173d 
commanding general, in his recommenda- 
tion of the engineer unit for the award. 

During the battle of Dak To, the airborne 
engineers were recommended for one Dis- 
tinguished Service Cross and earned one 
Silver Star, twelve Bronze Stars with "V" 
device, two Air Medals, and three Army 
Commendation Medals with "V" device. 
In support of the Brigade's other combat 
operations the engineers participated in 

during the year, they recieved 27 additional 
awards for valor. 

Brigadier General George S. Blanchard, 
Chief of Staff of the First Field Force, 
commanded the engineer company for their 
participation in civic action projects in his 
endorsement to the recommendation. He 
noted the record of the company in working 
with ARVN units, attested to by the award 
of the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry to 
thirteen members of the company. 

The Itschner Award is a silver plaque, 
named for the former Chief of Engineers, 
U.S. Army, and past president of the 
Society, Lieutenant General Emerson C. 
Itschner. Captain Thomas E. Weber, com- 
mander of the 173d Engineers Company, 
accepted the award on behalf of the 
company in Washington, D.C. 

All active Army Engineer companies are 
eligible to compete for the award, which is 
intended to promote leadership in junior 
engineer officers and foster the esprit of all 
Corps of Engineer units. 


The Support Battalion is the Brigade's 
lifeline. It provides a wide variety of combat 
support functions that are vital to the total 
effectiveness of the rest of the Brigade. 

Company "B" (Medical) provides teams 
of doctors and aidmen to operate the 
Brigade Clearing Station. "C" Company 
(Supply and Transport) hauls and stores 
the Brigade's supplies. Its aerial equipment 
support platoon furnishes parachute sup- 
port to the men in the field. Third echelon 
maintenance is performed on all the Bri- 
gade's equipment by "D" Company. 

Headquarters and 

Brigade Headquarters and Headquarters 
Company, and Company "A" (Admin- 
istration), are composed of many varied 
sections. Headquarters Company is res- 
ponsible for the many attachments to the 
Brigade: 404th Radio Research Unit, 51st 
Chemical Detachment, 172nd Military 
Intelligence Detachment, 24th Military 
History Detachment, 46th Public Informa- 
tion Detachment, U.S. Air Force Control 
Party, 628th Military Intelligence Detach- 
ment, and Vietnamese army personnel. It 
is also responsible for establishing and 
securing the Brigade Forward Command 

Administration Company also handles a 
variety of tasks. The Adjutant General, 
Finance Offices, and the 45th Army Postal 
Unit all fall under the Company's control. 
Company A's Replacement Detachment 
processes all Brigade paratroopers on ar- 
rival, R and R, and DEROS. 





I Corps 




Dak To II, MacArthur 

Dak To /, Greeley 


Francis Marion 

Combat Operations 


Fort Wayne 

Junction City II 

II Corps 

/// Corps 

IV Corps 

First In Vietnam 

The 173d Airborne Brigade, first U.S. combat unit to arrive 
in Vietnam, fought the enemy throughout the II and III Corps 
tactical zones during combat operations in its third year in Vietnam. 

The Sky Soldiers on February 22nd, 1967, jumped from 
C-130 aircraft at 1,000 feet to land on a 1 ,000-by-6,000 foot rice 
paddy near Cambodia. The 2nd Battalion Sky Soldiers received only 
light sniper fire as they descended on the huge clearing. Simultane- 
ously, two more battalions of paratroopers were lifted by helicopters 
to adjacent landing zones and immediately the biggest allied off- 
ensive of the war was underway. 

The first part of their mission complete, the airborne task force 
had jumped into combat with lightning speed, blocking the VC 
from the refuge of the Cambodian border. As JUNCTION CITY 
moved into March of 1967, the Sky Soldiers were credited with 
killing 304 VC soldiers. 

Under the operational control of the 1st Infantry Division, 
The Sky Soldiers once again moved into the battle fields of War 
Zone "C" on March 20, spearheading Operation JUNCTION 

Their mission was to secure the area at Minh Thanh located 

70 miles north of Saigon and to initiate airmobile operations 
on March 23. Small engagements with the 9th VC Division and 
the 272nd Main Force Regiment were made daily during the 
23-day operations. 

From early April to the last week in May, the 173d conducted 
four smaller operations in the Xuan Loc and Bien Hoa area. Nearly 
100 more Viet Cong were killed by the Sky Soldiers as they con- 
ducted Operations NEWARK, FORT WAYNE, DAYTON, and 
CINCINNATI during the two month period. 

Moving North 

On May 24th, the Brigade was alerted for deployment to the 
green and rolling countryside of the Central Highlands, 250 miles 
north of their home base camp at Bien Hoa. 

The decision to deploy the 173d northwest was a sudden one. 
The Brigade had just returned to base camp after completing 
Operation DAYTON in the May Tow area southwest of Xuan 
Loc, and was conducting Operation CINCINNATI, with the purpose 
of protecting the Bien Hoa-Long Binh complex. Before this was 
done, the Sky Soldiers were alerted for immediate deployment to 

the II Corps Tactical Zone under the 
operational control of I Field Force 

The Brigade's reaction was swift. Within 
24 hours of notification, elements were 
moving by C-130 aircraft from Bien Hoa 
to Pleiku. The entire airlift required only 
21 aircraft making a total of 208 sorties. 
Within 67 hours, 2,329 personnel and 2,701 
tons of supplies and equipment were trans- 
ferred to the II Corps Tactial Zone. In 
addition, a small element of the Brigade, 
consisting mainly of equipment too bulky 
to be airlifted, deployed from Saigon by 
ship. After landing at Qui Nhon, these 
elements came overland to the new Brigade 
CP which had been established at Catecka, 
just south of Pleiku. 

The Brigade was placed under operational 
control of the 4th Infantry Division upon 

arrival in the Pleiku area. The Ivy Division's 
Operation FRANCIS MARION, of which 
the 173d then became a part, had been in 
progress for sometime. The Sky Soldiers 
immediately began search-and-destroy 
maneuvers to the south of Catecka, con- 
centrating primarily on the la Drang Valley 
area, the scene of the 1st Cavalry Divi- 
sion's heavy publicized engagements in 1966. 
Despite extensive patrolling in their area 
of responsibility, the 173d paratroopers 
made no significant contact during the 

New Dak To 

While FRANCIS MARION was in pro- 
gress, however, increased enemy activity 
was being observed in the Dak To area, 
some 54 miles farther north. A Special 
Forces/CIDG element had made contact 
on May 13 with an estimated North 
Vietnamese Company, and a Mike Force 
ran into another company near the same 
location on June 15th. The 173d was then 
called on to deploy a task force, consisting 
of one reinforced battalion, to the Dak To 
area to conduct operations oriented toward 
locating and destroying enemy elements. 
Accordingly, an advance party was flown 
to Dak To on June 1 6th, and the task force 
prepared to follow. 

That night the Special Forces Camp at 
Dak To and the 42nd ARVN Regimental 
Headquarters in the nearby town of Tan 
Canh were both mortared. The Sky Soldier's 
advance party, bivouacked near the 
Special Forces Camp, also received mortar 

The following day, June 17th the task 
force deployed from Catecka to Dak To by 

combination of C-130 and motor convoy. 
The force consisted of one infantry batta- 
lion, one cavalry troop, one platoon of 
armored personnel carriers, two artillery 
batteries, one engineer platoon, and other 
support troops. 

While the deployment was in progress, 
however, the decision was made to increase 
the size of the task force to two reinforced 
battalions. Plans were quickly drawn up 
calling for additional deployment. The 
following day, another battalion moved to 
Dak To by C-130 and motor convoy. 
After the Brigade had been at Dak To for 
several days the second maneuver bat- 
talion was transferred there from Catecka. 
There appeared at this time to be two separ- 
ate threats to the Dak To area: one from 
enemy forces to the southwest and one from 
other elements to the northeast. The 173d 
reunified at a new base camp, and was 
ready to commence operations against either 
or both. 

Operation Greeley 

The Sky Soldiers were not operating 
alone. Various units supported or worked 
with the Brigade at different times during 
Operation GREELEY. These include the 
2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry; 1st Air Cavalry, 
with its supporting artillery; C Battery', 
1st Battalion; 77th Artillery; B Company' 
229th Engineers; 937th Engineer Group; A 
Battery (155mm towed), 1st Battalion, 92nd 
Artillery; B Battery (105mm self-propelled), 
3d Battalion, 6th Artillery; and C Battery 
(8-inch and 175mm self-propelled), 6th 
Battalion, 14th Artillery. All three artillery 
batteries were part of the 52nd Artillery 

Elements of the Army of the Republic 
of Vietnam (ARVN) were also operating in 

conjunction with the Brigade. The 42nd 
ARVN Regiment, with its headquarters 
at Tan Canh, and the 1st ARVN Airborne 
Task Force, consisting of two airborne 
infantry battalions and a 105mm howitzer 
battery, conducted both highway security 
and significant search-and-destroy missions 
in the Dak To area. 

There were several major contacts after 
the 173d arrived to blunt the enemy thrusts 
against the Special Forces Camps in this 
region. The 2nd Battalion, 503d Infantry, 
initiated operations to the south of Dak To 
on June 18th, and began moving back 
toward Dak To. On the morning of June 
22nd, A Company came under heavy 
ground fire and attacks, including two 
mass assaults from the NVA battalion 
which had engaged them. 

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SAIGON — A multicompany 
force from the Army's 173rd 
Airborne Brigade walked into a 
. well-prepared enemy battlefield 
Monday 10 miles southwest of 
New Dak To, touching off a tight 
that killed 26 paratroopers and 
wounded 49 before Army heli- 
copter gunships and artillery 
could drive the enemy off. 

The action look place seven 
miles northwest of the spot 
where 84 paratroopers were 
killed when their company ran 
up against two well-equipped 

than two hours before Army heli- 
copter gunships and artillery 
could drive the Reds from their 

The enemy Broke up into three 
unils when they withdrew, with 
two units Fleeing toward the 
Laos-Cambodian borders to the 
west and southwest and the third 
headed into (he mountains to 
the southeast, spokesmen said. 

After the bailie the paratroop- 
ers found six enemy bodies be- 
fore darkness set in. No contact 
was reported Tuesday. 

—The 1st Brigade, 101st Air- 
borne Div., tangled with an un-j 
known-sized enemy force in 
Quang Ngai province. 

The Reds hit the paratroopers 
with mortars and automatic 
weapons fire. Air strikes and 
artillery beat back the enemy- 
force. Two U.S. soldiers were 
killed while one enemy body 
was found. 

— Fourteen Communis! sol- 
diers were killed by um(s of the 
5th Marine Rcgr. two mile* 
northwest of Tam Ky. 


Estimates Over 400 Killed 

N. Viet Battalion Destroyed: Westy 

• * • EDITION 

'ol. 23, No. 176 

Monday, June 26, 19 

NEW DAK TO. Vietnam— Cen. 
William Westmoreland Sunday- 
told survivors of a U.S. para- 
troop company Ihcv and their 
fallen comrades "killed over 
40(1 North Vietnamese" and de- 
it roved an enemy battalion 
which had crossed into Soulh 
Vietnam from Laos. 
'Westmoreland, commander of 
U.S. forces in Vietnam, told sur- 
vivors of the 173rd Airborne 
Brigade comnan; their unit 
"virtually destroyed a battalion 
of North Vietnamese troops " 

"It looks lo me like you kicked 
the hell out of them," Westmore- 

land said at the 

ward command post here 

The U.S. unit — from the 2nd 
Bn., 503rd Inf. — lost 7fi men 
killed and 22 wounded Thursday 
in a day-long battle with two 
Communist battalions. 

"You killed over 400 North 

nkesinan in Saigon said Sun- 
ty only to enemy bodies were 
und. Most of the bodies prob- 
ily were buried or carried off 
lursdny night, one source 


' t u a m < 


land said. "I'm proud of you, 
You've been through a tough 
severe fight and have won il 
hands down." 

(Spokesmen of the 173d said 
Saturday they estimated 476 
Communist troops were killed, 
many by air strikes. 

ii'tui 1 

nd the first 
battalion to hit the U.S. 
(reportedly the 6th 
Bn.. 24th North Vietnamese 
Army Regt.) "was an elite bat- 
lalion when they crossed in 
from Labs, and Ihey were in 
high spirits when llie> contacted 




475 ENEMY 

Paratrooper Heroes SLAIN AFTER 
in Vietnam AssaultHITTING GI'S 

iocHESTER Post- Bulletin 

he added, "You know as 
I do (hey are no longer 

in high spirits and thee a.-e no 
longer ready." 

The battle took place barely 
three mile.s from where West- 
moreland spoke at New Dak To. 
U.S. losses in the fight were 80 
killed and 34 wounded. 

A brigade spokesman said half 
the nii-ii in the 173rd were new 
troops with only a few months 
combat in Vietnam. 

The battle was the first action 
of Operation Horace Greele.v 
Which continued Sunday as a 
Search and destroy drive in Kon 
turn Province near the Laotian 
and Cambodian border. 

Paratroopers Check 
'Human Sea' Attacks 

SAIGON (UPI)— Fighting in air raid on North Vietnam, 
bloody hand-to-hand combat, with 171 missions thrown 
U.S. Paratroopers beat off against the big Nam Dinh 
hordes of North Vietnamese power plant and other tar- 
troops who attacked in human gets. This was only four mis- 


waves using their own dead 
as shields, military spokes- 
men said today. Possibly as 
many as 450 Communists 
were killed. 

The U.S. Command kept the 
Thursday battle in the Central 
Highlands a secret until today 
because two American pla- 
toons were missing and offi- 
cials did not want the Com- 
munists to know it. 

But most members of the 
platoons were found dead, 
spokesmen said. The 173rd 
Airborne Brigade Paratroop- 
ers suffered 76 men killed 
PRICE 10 CEfand 25 injured. Each of the 

sions less than the record 175 
flown last October 14. But no 
planes were reported lost in 
the raids Friday. 

The Central Highlands bat- 
tle engulfed two other compa- 
nies; which battled to reach 
their trapped colleagues 
through some of the thickest 
jungles in Asia. 

One moved in from the 
north, the other from the 
south. It took six hours of in- 
tense fighting for the southern 
column to reach the belea- 
guered company. The other 
company was beaten back. 

The Paratroopers were 

into an estimated 800 of the 
Communists as they swept up 
a ridegline 275 miles north- 
east of Saigon and 18 miles 
from the junction of South 
Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. 

Hordes of the Communists 
surrounded one Paratroop 
company, about 200 men, and 
launched a series of human 
wave assaults carrying their 
own dead as shields, officials 

Reports from the battlefield 
said the Americans hurled 
back two Communist charges 
but the third penetrated the 
company's defenses. It be- 
came every man for himself 
as the two sides locked in 
hand-to-hand combat. 

Officials in Saigon said 
there was no firm figure of 

Hit Reds In 
Fierce Battle 

18 Americans, 98 
Communists Killed 
In Central Area 

SAIGON (AP) - U.S. pa 
troopers and dug-in North Vi 
namese troops clashed fierc 
foday in a battle that left 
Americans and 98 Commuc 
troops dead in the ninth day 
fighting near Dak To in the c 
Iral highlands. 

The U.S. Command report 
?5 paratroopers, from the U( 
173rd Airborne Brigade, a 
were wounded in the day-lo, 

A battalion-sized unit of i, 
U.S. 4th Infantry Division —pi 
haps 500 men— operating near 
alio was reported in contt 
with enemy troops and ettcha^ 
ing fire with them into I 

Communists ambushed a U 
armored convoy in the sat 
sector and killed five Army i 
gineers and wounded seven it 
15-minute light. The enginet 
called in artillery support a 
13 of the enemy died under I 

The clash occurred as otl 
U.S. soldiers probed a hill n< 
Dak To. North Vietnam! 
troops threw back a U.S. assa 
on the Hill Friday and Am< 
can artillery, gunship helic 
ters and warplanes then rai 
the hill repeatedly. 

Monsoon rains sharply c 
tailed the air war over 
North but carrier-based Ni 
pilots made radar-guided bo 
drops on the Kien An airfield 
miles southwest of Haipho 
Bad weather prevented dam; 
assessment. And Navy Al S 
raiders sank or damaged 
Communist supply boats i 
barges 22 miles south of I 

The fighting in the rocky c 
\ .'.. highlands 270 miles nortt 
Saigon, near where Cambot 
Laos and South Vietnam mi 
reflects tthe same enemy del 
mination that cost the Viet 
about 900 dead in efforts to « 
Loc Ninh last week. 

In eight days of fight 
around Dak To, U.S. offic 
said, 450 Communist soldi 
have been killed. They lis 
casualties among the 4th D 
sion and 173rd Airborne Brig; 
as 49 killed and 175 wounded 
the same period. 

Associated Press correspo 
ent Peter Arnett, noting t 
November has always been 
war's bloodiest month, repc 
that fighting at the onset of t 
year's fall dry season is m 

Solute From General 

General William C. Westmoreland, allied 
commander, later told the Sky Soldiers at 
Dak To that their effort prevented the 
NVA from overunning the Special Forces 
Camp there. He saluted the 173d as one of 
the finest units in the history of the American 
fighting man. 

The following week, the 2nd Battalion, 
12th Cavalry, uncovered enemy base camps 
and hit an estimated NVA Company seizing 
a large cache of supplies. Two weeks later, 
the 4th Battalion, 503d Infantry made 
contact in another area with an estimated 
NVA Battalion. This engagement was charac- 
terized by a heavy volume of machinegun 
fire and automatic weapons fire before the 
enemy withdrew. 

The 173d's attention focused increasingly 
northwest. Dak Seang Special Forces Camp, 
situated north of Dak To, and Dak Pek 
Special Forces Camp, located north of Dak 
Seang, both received sporadic mortar and 
recoilless rifle fire for an extended period 

of time, while the Brigade concentrated on 
eliminating the enemy activity around Dak 
To. Also during this time the 1st ARVN 
Airborne Task Force, under the opera- 
tional control of the 173d, engaged 
an estimated NVA battalion near Dak 
Seang on August 6th. The following day, 
after inflicting heavy casualties, the ARVN 
troops took enemy positions and found they 
contained an elaborate VIP command post, 
in addition to the friendly positions at 
Dak To. 

The fight to eliminate NVA activity in 
the Operation GREELEY area continued. 
The Sky Soldiers, in the manner which 
came to be expected of them, gave an excel- 
lent performance against a new, better 
trained and equipped enemy than they had 
encountered in the III Corps area. Over a 
wide range of tough jungle terrain, the 
paratroopers successfully neutralized several 
separate threats to the relative security of 
the region. 

1 »',.•;**■ -"f^sjJRP w ~^Bt : **""* 

\ -JL % 

Brigade Expands Operations 

In the middle of September, the 173d 
began to look more like a division when the 
1st and 4th Battalion deployed from the 
Central Highlands to the seacoast near 
Tuy Hoa in the Phu Yen Province. 

The 2nd Battalion continued to conduct 
search-and-destroy missions in the 
Tumoroung Valley of the Central Highlands. 

On September 19th, the main Brigade 
Command post at Phu Heip began to 
direct Operation BOLLING. The 1st and 
4th Battalions and the 2nd of the 8th 
Cavalry, 1st Air Cavalry Division operated 
in the mountains and fertile valleys to the 
west of Tuy Hoa. 

In Operation BOLLING, the 173d also 
worked in conjunction with the 9th ROK, 
and the 1st Battalion, 47th ARVN Regi- 
ment. The combined allied forces had a 
dual mission: the destruction of VC/NVA 
elements in the area, and the preservation 
of the rice harvest in the Tuy Hoa basin. 

During October, the Brigade saw two 
changes. On October 15th, the Sky Soldiers 
moved from their base camp at Bien Hoa 
in the III Corps to Camp RadclifT at An 
Khe in the II Corps. 

The second change was in the organiza- 
tional aspect of the Brigade. On October 
24th, a fourth line battalion, the 3d 
Battalion, 503d Infantry, joined the 173d 
Airborne Brigade after five months of 
extensive training at Ft. Bragg, where they 
were attached to the 82nd Airborne Divi- 
sion. The new battalion initially became 
involved in Operation BOLLING. 

The 1st and 4th Battalions successfully 
completed their operation to protect the 
Vietnamese rice harvest west of Tuy Hoa 
during September and October. Then they 
deployed once again to Dak To in November 
to join the 2nd Battalion in Operation 

The Fight For Dak To 

The Brigade minus the 3d Battalion and 
D 16th Armor, returned to the Dak To 
region. Intelligence findings indicated that 
several NVA Regiments had reinfiltrated 
the heavily jungled area and were threaten- 
ing the New Dak To Airstrip and the local 
Special Forces Camp. 

The Central Highlands was nothing new 
for the 173d. They had seen action in this 
region on Operation GREELEY, which 
terminated October 14th. 

In the ensuing battle for Dak To, the 
Sky Soldiers fought during their finest 
hour. The airborne infantrymen made re- 
peated heavy contact with large forces of 
NVA over a bitterly fought, 20-day period. 

On a remote covered hill designated 
875, a battalion of well dug in NVA made 
a last ditch effort to stop the hard fighting 
paratroopers of the 2nd Battalion. Both 
sides took heavy casualties during the fight 
characterized by close-quarter fighting and 
communist human-wave assaults. 

On Thanksgiving Day elements of the 
4th Battalion rose to the crest of the hill 
and ousted the last of the NVA defenders. 

During December, the Sky Soldiers con- 
tinued Operation MACARTHUR in the 
Central Highlands. The first two weeks of 
December were spend conducting opera- 
tions west of Dak To in the Kontum 
Province, while the 3d Battalion, and D. 
16th Armor continued Operation BOLL- 
ING in the vicinity of Tuy Hoa. 

On December 14th, the 4th Battalion, 
Troop E, 17th Cavalry, and the Brigade CP 
returned to Tuy Hoa leaving the 1st and 
2nd Battalions in the Dak To - Kontum area 
under the operational control of the 4th 
Infantry Division. 

In Operation MACARTHUR enemy 
activity and findings continued to slacken 
during the month of December, while 
action picked up in Operation BOLLING 
area. The Brigade elements in the Tuy Hoa 
area maintained daily contact with VC/ 
NVA forces operating in the rich rice 
basin. On December 27th, the 3d Bat- 
talion made four heliborne assaults and 
encountered three hot LZ's. During the 
bitter fighting Sky Soldiers reported un- 
covering 51 communist bodies and cap- 
turing 18 small arms. 

On December 26th, the 2nd Battalion 
moved from Dak To to Kontum, to con- 
duct search-and-destroy operations with 
the 1st Battalion. The area of operations 
around Kontum proved to be cold. 

Brigade At An Khe 

During the month of January, 173d 
elements made numerous small skirm- 
ishes in Operation BOLLING and 
MACARTHUR. On January 16th, the 3d 
Battalion moved to An Khe. Upon arrival 
they immediately assumed responsibility of 
the base defense of Camp Radcliff, kicking 
off Operation WALKER. 

On January 26th, the perimeter of Camp 
Radcliff was penetrated by an estimated 
VC platoon. The An Khe Airfield was hit 
by 60mm mortar rounds resulting in heavy 
losses to the installations in the area. The 
3d Battalion reaction force killed 13 ene- 
my and captured one. 

Outbreak At Tuy Hoa 

The morning of January 30th, C Battery, 
6th Battalion, 32nd Artillery, requested a 
reaction force to assist in defending their 
fire support base located at the Tuy Hoa 
North Airfield. D Company, 4th Battalion, 
moved in by helicopters and cleared the 
fire support base and then became heavily 
engaged with an NVA force in a village 
to the south. They were later reinforced by 
C Company and supported by elements of 
the 47th ARVN Regiment. After heavy 
fighting and airstrikes, the village was taken 
on January 31st. 

During February the Brigade continued 
to drive on in Operations BOLLING, 
MACARTHUR, and WALKER, under- 
going a number of moves by motor convoy. 

On March 4th, Company D, 16th Armor, 
made the largest contact that the Brigade 
had seen for several weeks. It was mid- 
morning when the airborne armormen 
were called to attack and clear an enemy 
force from the vicinity of the Tuy Hoa 
North Airfield. 

After four hours of fighting that resulted 
in 200 communist dead, the armormen 
cleared the airfield and remained in posi- 
tion while the ARVN units pursued the 
enemy, maintaining contact until late in 
the afternoon. 

During the third year in Vietnam, the 
173d Airborne Brigade did not limit its 
activities to fighting the enemy. Extensive 
civic action programs were conducted by 
the Sky Soldiers during all operations to 
deepen the ties of friendship between South 
Vietnamese and Americans. More than 
60,000 civilians received medical aid from 
the Brigade doctors and medics during 
visits to villages and hamlets. Paratroopers 
have contributed both time and money for 
construction projects aimed at raising the 
living standards for our South Vietnamese 
allies. To promote better understanding 
the 173d organized numerous English clas- 
ses for children of Bien Hoa. 

Millions of leaflets were dropped within 
the Brigade's area of operation in support 
of its combat activities. As a result, many 
VC and NVA soldiers defected to the 
South Vietnamese Government. 

It was a tough but gratifying year for the 
Sky Soldiers. They have smashed the enemy 
in the South and in the Central Highlands. 
Their deeds have made headlines all over 
the world. This was the third year in 

irwm «we .._. 

ZZ7£ZZ' n .Jmoos on Hill 875: Tired but Triumphant CHUTSTS SE,ZE "'" 

U.5. Paratroopers Paratroopers 
Win Control of Hill Chasing Enemy 

Crest From Reds 

SAIGON' »— American paratroo- 
pers gained 

the Cambodian border in one of the 

iles and launched 

i' 1 ! In root out last-ditch 

.North Vietnamese defenders, battle 

front reports said today. 

Pressing on despite heai 
men of the 173rd Airborne Brigade 
won control of the crest in action 
Monday and Tuesday and opened a 
dawn assault today against en- 

'ietnamese along a 

ridge line, the reports indicated. 
ine apparently 

. : 

The View From the Top of Hill 875 in the Central Highlands 


AMERICAN FORCES moved toward the cr.,t of Hill 875 near Dalt-To in South 
Vietnam where a 21-day battle taw et least 285 American! die. The Central High- 
lands hill coit the enemy at leait 1.400 men. (Story on Pege 7. AP Photo.) 

...» mimm mr w n o r Paratroops Finally 

e Hill 875 After 5-Day Battle seize m 8/5 After 

Bombings Precede Attach 

corresf) ul 

ridge line was preceded by repeated 
U.S. bombin 

The fighting on Hill S75 has left at 
least 79 paratroopers dead and 
another 178 wounded since Sunday. 

Total U.S. losses in the 22 days of 
fighting around Dak To have been 
put at 246 dead and S60 wounded. 

Bitter 5-Day Battle 


i ■ ■■ : ., 

ing as hard and bloody as any in 

d Its final 

... .... 

suntly beforehand 

■ I 

■ enemy pm up 01 ' 

1 .' i n Q. 

-i Dak To. 



' the top of embattled Hill N75 near Dak T 

May Wind Up Battle 

^.indup of the t> ; ; 

•bloodiest of tlu- war for Americans 

land North Vii 

„ ,. n,i .ii ' ' ' : 

PI Radiophoio) lhe Paratroopers pulled ba 

close to the ridgeline late Wcdnes- 
allow repeated air 
atrenched North Vietnamese, 
they spent a cold night In 

Red Losses Climb 

mm m m vak To 

GIs Take Hill 875 ' '*''""" 
After 5-Day Fight & * H " 

rhur^TU^r -60 "' 6 -* 60 ^ US " P-«*W < I 
Thursday-Thanltsg.vmg Day-after fiv. days of bitter fighting. 

Saddles the route 
' '*> the day. 

Serving America's International Gateway Since 1837 

SAIGON, Nov. 24 OB — North 

tnamese iroops were believed with- 

from the bloody Dak To 

or. 270 mik\ north of Saigon. 

r$ captured Hill 875 r o°ps captured Hill 

rt-52 bomhcf\ movi 
1 tes ihe Communis* 

might usu for escape toward Camfc 

: . 

ii i ■ ■ ' icli 

now loial io: Americans killed and 172 
wounded. \\ was climated that 120 

SAIGON (UP] --i ■ iara troop today gave chase 
to a North Vietnamese unit shattered by U.S. artillery- 
men near Dak To but American battlefield commanders 
warned the Ocmrmini I 
committed 6,800 troops to the 
area and brought up huge 122 
mm (five li 

i: trued Zona 

Bruno : 

: * commander of the 

20.000 Maiines in the 3rd 

■ to v. s killed with 

her men when his 

helicopter exploded on a flight 

from Hue to Dong Ha and fell 

11 into a flooded rice 


Losses Heavy 




iight and 

i t Viet- 

1 egular ., d 

U.S. paratrooper battalion on a 


out v - Hinam's central high- 
day and with heavy 
ground s. 
flVhR SOll FflF\ Ucks apparently inflicted heavy 
U T lail OUV I \J1m3 casualties. An American relief 

. cached the scene at dusk. 

Jungle Fighting I> Fierce The bait ill « 

and Close Airborne Brigade was cut off 

»nq not e ior M hours Mmt ^ rejn 

c,,?™- ,J ^ Q ? , ... Cummiimsl alar-k 
SAIGON (AP) - Fierce fight- dead and wounded. Heavy i 
n ?.. a i clfi « re "^ e ' ran « e my ground fire kepi rescue 
' ■! g away. 

... lat .1 Press 

Press Laat-Ditch Defend- 
ers on 875 Ridge line 

Vietnamese defend: 
front reports said Wednesday. . 

ontrol of 

the ere.-.! 

upted Saturday in the jungt 
of the central highlands ar 

both U.S. and North Vietnamese , »f°™"ea "ess correspon- . 

casualties mounted beyond the *"' i otl " Un 8 el reported from 

500 mark in the 10-siay battle ? a , k ,. r °' a,ro "' Is n,,les from «* I 

around Dak To lighting, the heavy communist 

About 1,000 infantrymen and 1" ™' °" ' hu *' explosion 
paratroopers Irom the U. S. slde ™ l S Perimeter, possib- A PLATOON sergeant and » Mdiotcl 
4th Infanlry Division and the ly f ausl " cs It phone operator of the U.S. 173d Airborr 

irboroe Brigade fougbl coultl "'" imme- Brigand peer into thick bamboo jungl, 

North Vietnamese forces 

ed into 
iuth o '■ . ... 

H-u hmilh was not the victim of 

Fighting also fl 
coastal lowlands near Tarn Ky, 
inigon and 

; 3 Paratroopers Continue Push 

damaged as troops 

of the 1st Ail 

iiade a helicopter assault 
Monday agaiiist Red strong- 

what caused 

SAIGON l API - While US 
and artillery pounder 
tug-in North Vietnai 
lers. helicopte 

Cunimuni*; gi 

ds of the I 

.. , 

Bomb Retreat Route 

In the Dak 'To area B52 

bombers dropped tons of bombs 

on the Co :n i 

OOperi tried to 
Vietti m 


■ ' ! ' '■ " 

,I ™^P |11 oday the lasl of 140 Amerii 

jaratroopers wounded since 
Sunday in bitter fighting on the 
slopes of Hill 

Associated Press correspond- 
.nt Peter A-TieU re, 

brutal fight.- of he 

ar under way as men of the 

' ' d a A ! r ^T ,1 g ^it 
.npied to take the remainmg 

l0I enemy bunkers on the hill u, the 

cenu-al highlaiuis 14 miles 

OUthwest of Dak To. 

Short of food and water, ths 

ia ■ . ' I iW enemy 

[ire as Ihey continued their pust 

:hc summit The\ use 
throwers ag ilnsl h 
tricate bunker system, 
U.S. lets poinded the entire 

Brutal Battle Involves 
173rd Airborne Brigade 

Enemy's Final Resistance 
Atop Hill 875 Is Light 

Only Squad I 
Hold An 

.:...... ,, 

By JOHN I.KNf.n 

...tli and removed al HILL Bl 

the rcsl in a two-hour period lo The enem 

day. along the forti 

This was the second most cost Thursday was light. 

ly bsttlc of the Viet Nam wa Only a squad rem 
for American foi 

It rivaled i that had held Hill S75 throti 

fighting in the la Drang valle nearly five days of bitter bal ll 

nds ballalioos In hill 

Largest Daily and Sunday Circulation in in* State oi i 




.-,, helicopter gunshipi 
allacked the Communi 
ing to find Hie reinforcement; 
I. S. intelligence reports salt 
m ; . d to the Dak To fron 
E Pleil 

iuth , „ 

lost nine killer 

the battle area in South Viet- 
nam where North Vietnamese 
regulars and United Stales 

Suspected Enemy Camf 
Bombed After Fight 


heal back a tuiious North Viet 

namese charge late Monday and 21 wounded in ' 

firing 105mm howitzers a fighting, the U S. Command re 

point-blank range m the jungiei ported, lis revised ligures pu 

hills of the central highlands It V. S. casualties in 11 days a 

oi Dak Tn. lighting around Dak To at 9: 

>ui battle. Hie kUled and 521 wounded. 

, , ietnamese broke oil 125 ENEMV DEAD 

the engagement, but ihcir Tile North Vietnamese casual 

suspected major camp two ties in Monday's battle were no 

mites farther south was known, but U. S. headquarter! 

plastered early Tuesday by said 625 ot the enemy wen 

eight-engine strata- killed in the previous 10 days o 

For 10 hours before the Nortl Noiln Vietnamese troop: 

n struck, Ihe enem; launched a mortar attack Mon 

had rained mortar and rocke day nighl on ittaiio 

shells on positions of Ihe U. S of the 173rd Airborne, droppin, 

forces, elemenls of Ihe 173r< I 

Airborne Brigade. were not In 

enemy ' 




Airborne Keeps 

1 "Hod Stales since ihe Cora- 
miinisl artillery liege of Ci>n I bi 
Seplember. The U.S. Command re- 
ported thai for the week ending 

VOLUME 22, NO. 12 

Trooper] ot the 173rd Alrbornr Briead 
near the Oest of Hill m as they 

Low as Enemy Attacks 

. i~,i ..J i„ h> a compare of North Vietnamese regular* 

Saturday. Ame 

killtJ and 1,256 wound? 

Hell on High Ground-The Fight for Hill 875 

On a remote bamboo-covered hill in Vietnam near the Cambodian 
border, Chaplain (Major) Charles J. Watters said Mass to a battalion 
of paratroopers before the Sunday battle. 

During his 16 months of duty with the 2nd Battalion, 503rd 
Infantry, 173d Airborne Brigade, Father Watters became as close as 
he could to the men. He knew most of them by name. He had 
listened to their confessions, delivered their Masses, and labored 
for solutions to their problems. He was their Chaplain. 

He was with his men when they parachuted into battle and 
worldwide fame last February to spearhead Operation JUNCTION 
CITY. He was also there when they sloshed through the rich coastal 
rice paddies near Tuy Hoa and climbed the rugged mountains 
surrounding Dak To. "He felt his place was with the men in the 
field, no matter where they went, or what they did," said fellow 
Catholic Chaplain (Major) Roy V. Peters. "He was hard-core." 

He never went without his Mass kit. At an opportune time, he 
would don his camouflaged vestments and set up a make-shift altar 
on a stack of **C" ration cases. The jungle served as his church. 
The 2nd Battalion paratroopers would gather around at Father 
Watters' familiar call, "It's Mass time." "We always knew when 

to come to church with Father Watters around," recalled one of 

Last May, he was with the men of Charlie Company when the 
paratroopers came under small arms and claymore fire from a 
Viet Cong force of unknown size. Under heavy enemy fire, Father 
Watters rushed forward to the side of a fatally wounded man. 
He remained with the paratrooper until he had administered last 
rites and the Sky Soldier was extracted from the battle field. For 
his heroic action, Father Watters was awarded the Bronze Star for 

Not long ago, Father Watters extended his Vietnam tour by 
six months. "He decided to make the military his life," explained 
Father Peters. "He felt he could do the most good in the Army." 

As usual, the airborne priest was with his men recently when 
the battalion assaulted a North Vietnamese force estimated at 
battalion size, well dug in atop Hill 875. During the ensuing battle, 
both sides suffered heavy casualties. 

Despite the deadly mortar and small arms fire, Father Watters 
moved among the wounded. Then he too was hit. He died beside his 
men, ministering to them and helping with their evacuation. 

One paratrooper summed up the battalion's feeling simply; 
"From beginning to end. he was our chaplain." 


% wm 



and Destroy 

Many of the first operations the Brigade 
conducted after arriving in country were 
termed "search and destroy." The purpose 
of such operations is just as the name implies 
— to search an area and to destroy or capture 
enemy personnel and equipment. 

The enemy must be tracked down and 
fixed before he can be taken under fire and 
destroyed. This type of action is necessary 
because of the nature of counter-guerrilla 
warfare in which the enemy seeks to harass, 
evade and hide. 

The efforts of every individual is co- 
ordinated to locate the enemy. When con- 
tact is made the infantryman maintains 
pressure on the enemy location, while artil- 
lery and air power are called in to pound 
enemy positions. 

The airborne infantryman has the mission 
of actually closing with and destroying the 
enemy. When the artillery and air support 
is completed, it is the infantryman who 
must ferret out the small pockets of enemy 

Many times the enemy avoids contact by 
easily fading into the surrounding jungles — 
to be chased until he can be destroyed. 
When he stands to fight it will be the 
airborne infantrymen who will carry out 
the mission of— SEARCH and DESTROY. 


<% J 




i V 

i I ' I 



'if*% '^*. 



$■ IL^ "i 


5r* *f 


% -#>• 


p «&--.^ jBr,f, 




J , : ' , 

iMjg .jm* 4 \ 


Airmobile Operations 

«&~- * ■- 



•"'. 9fiimf\ 


' 1UKS 




Dust Off 

To the wounded, the valuable minutes 
between the time he has been injured and 
the time he receives adequate medical 
treatment can mean the difference between 
life and death. 

Because of this difference the medical 
evacuation helicopter units, more com- 
monly called "Dust Off", attempts to fly 
into some of the tightest and insecure 
landing zones ever seen in this country. 

The man initially on-the-spot and respon- 
sible for the lives of many soldiers is the 
combat medic always moving under fire 
to assist the wounded. 

When "Dust Off" arrives, the wounded 
soldier is placed aboard and flown to a 
nearby medical facility. While in flight, 
treatment is continued by a qualified aidman 
who is also a crew member. 

The bravery of the "Dust Off" crews has 
been proven many times by their landings 
under fire and in seemingly inaccessible 

Medical support is provided by "B" 
Company (Medical) personnel who are 
capable of providing extensive medical 
treatment to the wounded. 

^gs 1 *' 


The Army Chaplain plays a vital role in 
Vietnam. To the men in combat, who face 
the perils of war daily, he is a bright beam 
of light giving them renewed faith and 
placing in perspective the difficult job they 
have to do in a country thousands of miles 
from home. 

The Army Chaplain has provided this 
guiding light since the days of the Revolu- 
tionary War. The gallant men of the 
chaplaincy have proven again and again 
their courage and unstinting devotion to- 
ward the moral and spiritual well-being of 
the combat soldier. 

In the field, the Chaplains have to impro- 
vise. It is not unusual to see a moss- 
covered rock become an altar or a rain- 
drenched jungle become a church. The 
services are simple, but the combat soldier 
appreciates the quiet reassurance that 
comes from this simplicity. 

The Chaplains of the 173d Airborne 
Brigade are among the finest in the armed 
forces. They have served under fire, aiding 
the wounded, both physically and spirit- 

Somehow these dedicated men of God 
find the time for a moment of silence and 
prayer in a war that is very real — anytime, 



39th Scout 

Dog Platoon 

A 1st Battalion, 503d Infantry soldier, 
commenting on his battalion's destruction 
of a NVA ambush patrol : "That dog was 
directly responsible for saving the men of 
his company from injury or death." 

Such tributes have often been paid to 
the men and dogs of the 39th Scout Dog 
Platoon. The platoon is charged with 
training the man-dog teams used by the 
line units in the Brigade for tracking the 
elusive guerrillas in the dense jungle. 

The dogs, all German Shepherds weigh- 
ing between 50 and 100 pounds, are trained 
at Ft. Benning prior to shipping over to 
Vietnam. When they arrive at the 173d 
Airborne Brigade they undergo a refresher 
course with the soldier assigned to be their 

The scout dog teams train using decoys 
in the rugged brush country around the 
Brigade area. The success of the teams in 
battle has proven the merit and practicality 
of the program. 

Jungle School 

Whether a clerk, a radio-telephone oper- 
ator, or a platoon leader, all incoming 
personnel in enlisted ranks through ser- 
geant first class, and second and first lieute- 
nants attend the 173d Airborne Brigade 
Jungle School. 

The school strives to make each new 
arrival in Vietnam a more effective soldier 
by acquainting him with the ways of the 
Brigade, the Vietnamese people, the coun- 
try, and the War. 

Students in the school profit by the hard 
fought for experiences of the combat 
veteran instructors. The fears, doubts and 
questions of the new personnel are answered. 
Classes in weapons and jungle tactics 
serve both as a review and as a source of 
completely new information for the new 
arrival. Informative classes on what to wear, 
how to pack, how to recognize the enemy, 
and why we are in Vietnam are designed to 
enrich and orientate the students before 
they move to forward operational area. 

"Be Alert and Stay Alive" is the school's 

To coordinate fire missions of heavy 
mortars, artillery, and Army and Air Force 
aircraft, a fire support center (FSCC) 
located within the Brigade Tactical Opera- 
tions Center (TOC) clears all requests for 
indirect fire. With FSCC control, it has 
been possible to conduct the combined 
fires of air strikes and artillery fire simul- 
taneously with close coordination. 

Artillerymen from the 319th fire the 
105mm howitzer in direct support of each 
battalion in the Brigade. Fire is 'adjusted 
based on information received from an 
artillery forward observer (FO) who moves 
with each infantry company. The forward 
observer requests fire 'through the Fire 
Direction Center (FDC) located at the 
battalion fire support base. 

Additional fire support from the 60mm, 
81mm, and 4.2-inch mortars, is used by the 
battalion commander for quick support. 
Also at the commander's disposal are 
aerial fire support from Army helicopters 
and Air Force tactical bombers. 

Armed helicopters — called gunships — 
provide close and extremely accurate fire- 
power. Armed with 40mm grenade launch- 
ers, M-60 machine-guns, and 2.75-inch 
rockets, these gunships are a welcome sight 
to the infantrymen in battle with the 

Tactical airpower is requested and co- 
ordinated by a Forward Air Controller- 
called "FAC". He flies in an Ol-E "Bird 
Dog" observation aircraft. Always above 
a battle scene the "FAC" can observe 
enemy movement and adjust incoming jets 
quickly and accurately. 

Unheard and out of sight, but bringing 
a devastating load to preplanned targets 
is the B-52Strato-Fortress— surprise through 
silence and force. 

Fire Support 




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Success on the modern battlefield is dependent upon fire superiority 
and the success of fire superiority is dependent upon the ground corr^ 
nders best friend the Forward Air Controller (FAC 
The prkaary mission of the (FAC) is to provide^he c 
between the air and ground forces, to ensure maximum c 
tactical air power. 

Combat Support 

An outstanding lesson learned — or 
relearned — in Vietnam is the fact that 
combat support and combat service support 
are of extreme importance to the successful 
conduct of offensive or defensive operations, 
and that the movement of troops and sup- 
plies to the critical point at the critical time 
has been, and will continue to be the domi- 
nant factor in winning a battle, or a war. 
Conversely, it has been learned that the loss 
of one's ability to move troops and supplies 
entails the loss of initiative and a limitation 
of action which can only result in final 

The United States provides assistance to 
foreign countries in two forms — combat 
and civic actions. The latter program is the 
responsibility of the Brigade S-5 (Civic 

Civic action, sometimes referred to as 
the "other war," wins the hearts and minds 
of the people by helping the Vietnamese 
to help themselves. This is accom- 
plished through the construction of schools, 
roads, bridges, dispensaries, churches, 
waterways, homes, and other worthwhile 
projects designed to provide the people 
with a better way of life and instill in them 
a sense of pride. 

The program is planned to be self- 
sustaining after hostilities have ceased. 
During hostilities it is designed to give the 
people of the Republic of Vietnam a feeling 
of unity, purpose, and confidence in the 
Government of Vietnam. Civic action also 
provides a source of intelligence to combat 
units as the people confide in those who 
take interest in their problems. The poten- 
tial to obtain useful intelligence is never 

Civic action teams move out to the 
many villages in the area of operations and 
provide the people with medical and dental 
services. These two programs, Medical and 
Dental Civic Action Programs, constitute 
a great deal of the S-5's help programs. 
Doctors, dentists, and medics treat patients 
and distribute needed supplies to the vil- 
lagers. Sometimes food and clothing are 
distributed to improve health conditions. 

The Civil Affairs Section strives to further 
the cause of freedom in Vietnam by bringing 
aid to the sick in combat torn and disease 
infested areas, and by working jointly with 
government officials at province and dis- 
trict level. 

Winning the loyalty of the Vietnamese 
people to the government is as critical as 
fighting the enemy. When the people realize 
that their government is sincere in its efforts 
to pacify the country, to build the economy, 
and to administer and govern justly, the 
enemy will be deprived of support from the 

The Land 

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The Enemy 

Small by American standards, the Viet 
Cong and their North Vietnamese counter- 
parts have proven to be a formidable 
foe. He can survive on a few fistfuls of 
rice for days at a time; devise crude, but 
effective weapons ; tolerate the rigors of the 
steaming jungle; live off the fat of the land, 
and if necessary ream out complex tunnels 
beneath the ground. 

The jungle is his home; his job is war. 
His military tactics run the gamut from 
Hannibal to Mao Tse Tung, and he wields 
his terroristic sword with might and pre- 

"Charlie" has a favorite tactic — the 
ambush. For a long time he was successful 
against those who didn't know the land 
or the enemy, but the ambush is beginning 
to lose much of its punch because the 
Allied Forces have developed many equally 
good counter-ambush techniques. 

Elusive, nomadic, the Viet Cong con- 
tinue to strike, but the mounting pressure 
is causing him a heavy toll. 

* \ 

The Viet Cong's northern brother, the 
North Vietnamese Regular, is well-trained 
and equipped. He is the professional soldier 
whereas the Viet Cong are often farmers 
by day and guerrilla fighters by night. The 
North Vietnamese soldier is usually drafted 
into the army and forced to make the long, 
arduous trip to South Vietnam. His pay is 
almost nothing; a private receives five 
piasters a month. 

Even though the North Vietnamese Army 
(NVA) soldier is not resupplied as well as 
U.S. Army troops, he cannot be dismissed 
lightly. A professional, he is highly indoc- 
trinated by his leaders. 

He is aware of his striking power and 
uses it to full advantage. When a major 
offensive is made, it is usually the NVA who 
launch it. The North Vietnamese Regular 
is a skilled soldier, but we have consis- 
tently defeated him. He is becoming increas- 
ingly hard pressed and desperate in his 
war in the south. How long he will remain 
as an effective fighting force is a formidable 

The Sky Soldiers 

"Airborne" is more than a pair of glit- 
tering wings, it is an idea symbolizing that 
a man believes enough in himself and his 
country to go one step beyond just serving 
his time. He strives to be the best. 

Many of the troops arriving in country 
have just finished jump school. It doesn't 
take long for them to learn that they are 
assigned to one of the finest fighting units 
in military history — the 173d Airborne 

The Sky Soldier is the main ingredient 
in the illustrious record of the 173d. 
Without him the 173d would be just 
another unit, but with him the 173d will 
live on and continue to be one of the 

1 V 















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Larry S. Pierce 

Milton L. Olive 

Medal of Honor 

In Vietnam all front line troops are heroes; 
most of the valorous acts they perform go 
unrewarded. But once in a great while the 
actions of an individual soldier win him 
the highest recognition not only of his 
fighting buddies, but of the U.S. Army and 
his country. In the 173d's history, there 
have been four such men. 

In February, 1966, Sergeant Larry Pierce 
was posthumously awarded the first Con- 
gressional Medal of Honor in the Brigade 
for saving the lives of three of his men by 
throwing himself on a claymore mine. 

Company A, 2nd Battalion, had made 
contact with a platoon of Viet Cong when 
an enemy soldier threw a grenade at 
Private First Class Milton L. Olive and 
four of his buddies. Without hesitation, 
PFC Olive jumped on the grenade, muffling 
the deadly explosion with his own body at 
the cost of his life. His four buddies escaped 
unharmed and in April, 1966, Olive was 
awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously. 

In December, 1966, Specialist 6 Larry 
Joel was the Brigade's third recipient of the 
award, for his heroic action while a com- 
bat medic in Company C, 1st Battalion. As 
the battalion fought a day long battle 
against a 700-man communist unit, Special- 
ist Joel, who was wounded twice himself 
and was unable to walk, crawled his way 
through the battle area, constantly exposing 
himself to enemy fire as he administered 
vital aid to badly wounded paratroopers. 

Sergeant Charles Morris, the most recent 
Medal of Honor winner, has also received 
the Distinguished Service Cross. As a 
squad leader in Company A, 2nd Battalion, 
although hit 30 times by Viet Cong bullets 
and grenade fragments, Sgt. Morris carried 
on a fierce fight for 5 hours, personally 
knocking out VC machine gun nests, killing 
numerous VC, aiding wounded Americans, 
and encouraging his men until the arrival 
of a relief force. 

Larry Joel 

Charles B. Morris 


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